Beric the Briton
Heirloom Audio Productions has a way of adapting Henty's writing and making it more than just an audio book. They turn them into a first class listening experience. Beric the Briton contains an all-star cast, as usual, and the music and sound effects make it exciting, daring and truly adventurous to listen to with the kids. It is the story of the Roman invasion of ancient Britannia. Beric, our protagonist, along with his best friend Bodouc, just as in every Henty novel, live out adventures almost too wild to believe. Beric becomes a chief, they are captured by Romans, trained to be gladiators, and even serve Emperor Nero. It is when they are confronted with their pagan past that we see the true theme of forgiveness come to light. Heirloom Audio Productions strives to make history accessible to families, but they also bring out the noble themes in Henty's writing.
Along with the physical two-disc CD set, with over two hours of audio, I also received multiple digital components that are available with different purchase options. These include the following:
- MP3 set of the audio
- original book in e-book version with new illustrations
- MP3 soundtrack
- printable posters
- study guide
- behind the scenes footage
The study guide is the heart of the extras. Just like previous study guides, it is of excellent quality. It's beautifully illustrated, though not very print friendly. It's perfect for pulling up on a tablet. I like to use the study guide to familiarize myself with the vocabulary, themes and overall story. It's helpful for introducing unfamiliar words or interesting topics beforehand and being prepared for topics that might arouse questions from the kids. I can also use these questions in a more natural way during conversations by going over it beforehand, rather than doing the Q&A approach. If my kids were older, I'd use it more thoroughly as intended and have them complete the work on paper. This is the first guide that I've noticed recipes, which is an awesome touch! Additionally, the study guide includes three distinct Bible Study guides, so you can truly get a well-rounded study from Beric the Briton and the digital study guide.
Final ThoughtsAs always, Heirloom Audio Productions has done a superb job. If you close your eyes, you can easily immerse yourself right into the action thanks to the quality acting and superb sound effects and music.
I do think there can be intense scenes and conversations (for instance, Beric the Briton mentions sparing no man, woman or child) and if you have sensitive children, I suggest listening to the full story before allowing your children to listen to it and being prepared for potentially difficult conversations. Overall I think middle-upper elementary is the ideal starting point, with teens definitely getting more out of the stories. Young children can certainly listen in and enjoy it, but the stories are often fast-paced and the names and places can sometimes get confusing. My boys are still on the young side (6 and 9) and I just use these for more exposure to history, in an attempt to make it more than just "a battle" but to show there were real people who lived and died by their morals, convictions and faith. The boys enjoy the fast-paced action and inherently adventurous nature of the stories, but as they get older and we continue to use these alongside our history studies as unique resources, they will appreciate the development of the characters and the historical aspect along with me much more than they can now.
The one thing I still don't understand is why Heirloom Audio Productions has a separate website for each title they've produced. The individual websites feel very infomercial and visually cluttered to me, and I would much prefer one standard website with everything available together. If I was a regular consumer, I might be on the Beric the Briton website and not realize they even have other titles for purchase. I truly think it should be consolidated under one banner, even if the individual web addresses redirect to one primary website. (I feel the same way about their multiple social media accounts.)
More HistoryIf you're interested in learning more about the other fabulous titles produced by Heirloom Audio Productions, feel free to check out my other reviews.
Under Drake's Flag
In Freedom's Cause
With Lee in Virginia
The Dragon and the Raven
©2011-2016 Mom’s Heart. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.moms-heart.com